Introduction Disney A to Z: The Ofﬁcial Encyclopedia
is the first of its kind, a unique reference book. Everything you might want to look up about Disney is available in this book, in an easy-to-use form. The encyclopedia attempts to list all Disney theatrical shorts and features; all Disney TV shows, series, and specials; all Disney educational and nontheatrical films; all Disney park attractions, along with the park resorts, restaurants, and shops; key Disney company personnel; primary actors in Disney films and TV productions; important songs; and many other elements that make up the world of Disney.
Under the film entries, one can learn when the title was released, who starred in it, who directed it, what its running time was, where it was filmed, what it is about, and some interesting facts about its production. The park entries tell you when a particular attraction or restaurant opened, along with its closing date (if it is no longer there). The actor and actress entries tell what Disney films the person starred in, and the role he or she played, along with any TV appearances. There are special lists of Disney Academy Awards and Emmy Awards, animated features, cartoons starring the major characters, Mouseketeers through the years, feature films in chronological order, the Disney Channel Original Movies, and TV series. The company is constantly evolving, necessitating updates to entries as more awards are won, TV series come to an end, park attractions make way for new ones, and executives move on to new positions.
The genesis of this encyclopedia project was in January 1994. The day after the 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit Los Angeles, I had a meeting scheduled at The Walt Disney Studios with Bob Miller of Hyperion Books (now Disney Editions) to discuss possible future Disney-themed books that they might publish. As the building housing the Walt Disney Archives received major structural damage in the earthquake, everything was in disarray and we had to have our meeting at an outdoor table at the nearby Studio Commissary. As we sat there talking, one book I mentioned was one I had always felt would be of great interest to readers everywhere—a Disney encyclopedia. While I knew the book would be useful, I also knew that it would take a tremendous amount of research and writing. While it was something I would be very interested in attempting, I explained that this might be a project that I would probably only be able to undertake after I retired.
As the months went on, however, I continued to think about the encyclopedia, and I realized that I did not want to wait for my retirement. The book would be of great help to those of us in the Walt Disney Archives because it would combine detailed information from any number of different files. Everything would be in one alphabet, easy to look up when someone called with a question on the telephone. So, in June 1994, I decided to begin the compilation of the encyclopedia. Since I had no extra time during my workday, it would have to be done on my own time, at home on my own computer. The research phase took over 380 hours of my time over the next six months, not to mention the additional hours put in by research assistants.
Two years later, the first edition of Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia
was completed. We published a revised edition in 1998, with a plan for a new one every two years, but it took eight years before we had the third edition. The fourth edition came in 2015, and a fifth edition followed in 2016.
—Dave Smith (1940–2019)
Disney Legend and Founder, Walt Disney Archives, The Walt Disney Company
In your hands is a rich tapestry of knowledge that Dave Smith collected and pre- served over his fifty-year association with The Walt Disney Company. In the nearly three decades that have passed since his first edition of Disney A to Z
was published, this official encyclopedia has been celebrated—and cemented—as the ultimate informational resource for all things Disney, serving as an invaluable research tool for casual Disney fans, devoted aficionados, guests, and Cast Members alike. As The Walt Disney Company enters its second century, this book refracts the wide prism of Disney’s ever-growing worlds, preserving a seemingly endless array of information for all readers to explore. The people, characters, places, stories, and magic of 100 years of Disney are all in here, waiting for you to discover.
When it was originally published in 1996, Disney A to Z
featured over 5,200 entries. Now, the total number has surpassed 9,000, with primary coverage from the beginnings of the company in 1923 up through early March 2023. It has been seven years since the fifth edition was published in 2016, and during those years, Disney has premiered hundreds of new feature films, shorts, and documentaries; opened dozens of exciting park attractions, hotels, restaurants, and shops; unveiled a fifth cruise ship; produced new stage shows; and debuted a variety of new TV series. With the launch of Disney+ in 2019 come new entries for the major Disney series and movies released for streaming, and also added is information about the companies and brands included in Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox the same year. This substantial growth has resulted in more than 2,000 new entries, along with more than 6,000 changes to existing ones—offering more Disney facts than ever before.
Information, of course, is at the heart of any encyclopedia. So to offer the most informational material possible within a finite page count, some additional changes were needed for this sixth edition. This included presenting the images in a new collage at the start of each section. . . . Finally, we are offering our special thanks and acknowledgments at the end of this book.
But most significant to Disney A to Z
—in an enormous loss to the Disney community, to archival institutions everywhere, and to so many of us personally—was the passing of Dave Smith in February 2019. Dave’s dedication to safeguarding both Disney (the organization) and Walt Disney (the man) was unwavering. He first invented, then stewarded, a model archive as Disney evolved into the world’s preeminent entertainment company. He was committed to treating Disney history as a living legacy and perpetually positioned the company’s past as a vital prologue for its future, along the way collecting, preserving, and showcasing thousands of Disney’s priceless treasures. And to Dave, the most valuable treasure of all was the information contained in the collections of the Archives. It was therefore Dave’s hope that this reference work would continue to be updated as The Walt Disney Company continued to grow and expand, and with the support of Disney Editions and of you—the reader and researcher—that hope has been realized. Disney A to Z
had a special meaning to Dave, and it has a very special meaning to all who have contributed to this new edition. Beyond this book’s role as an invaluable informational resource, we recognize it as a symbol of Dave’s commitment to preserving the ongoing Disney legacy and the accuracy of its living history. We are similarly committed to ensuring this updated edition follows Dave’s direction, standards, and criteria for entry selection and creation, for which he generously shared his guidance over the years as my mentor and dear friend. It is nothing short of an honor for all of us involved to bring Disney A to Z
forward into the company’s next hundred years and to dedicate ourselves to upholding one of Dave’s greatest legacies.
It is with immense gratitude to both Dave and my fellow staff members at the Archives that we welcome you to the centennial edition of Disney A to Z
Walt Disney Archives, The Walt Disney Company
Copyright © 2023 by Disney. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.